Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 145–166 | Cite as

Putting a Price Tag on Security: Subjective Well-Being and Willingness-to-Pay for Crime Reduction in Europe

  • Mattheus Brenig
  • Till ProegerEmail author
Research Paper


Using information on life satisfaction and crime from the European Social Survey, we apply the life satisfaction approach (LSA) to determine the relationship between subjective well-being (SWB), income, victimization experience, fear of crime and various regional crime rates across European regions. We show that fear of crime and criminal victimization significantly reduce life satisfaction across Europe. Building upon these results, we quantify the monetary value of improvements in public safety and its valuation in terms of individual well-being. The loss in satisfaction for victimized individuals corresponds to 24,174€. Increasing an average individual’s perception within his neighborhood from unsafe to safe yields a benefit equivalent to 14,923€. Our results regarding crime and SWB in Europe largely resemble previous results for different countries and other criminal contexts, whereby using the LSA as a valuation method for public good provision yields similar results as stated preference methods and considerably higher estimates than revealed preference methods.


Crime rate Fear of crime Life satisfaction approach Subjective well-being Willingness-to-pay 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Economic Sciences, Chair of Economic Policy and SME ResearchUniversity of GoettingenGöttingenGermany

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